Monday 5 December 2016

Wanted: Early Morning Bird Lovers


On Friday, December 1, 2016, the Meewasin Valley Authority approved Triovest Realty Advisors’ plans for the East Tower at River Landing.

Jan Shadick, Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation, says that the developers indicated that they were familiar with the City of Calgary’s Bird-Friendly Guidelines and had worked under these guidelines for 10 years in Calgary. They indicated that these ideas are under consideration for this development and noted that the “fins” on the first few floors are designed to increase the visibility of the building to birds. They were not definitive in agreeing to follow the bird-friendly guidelines when building the East Tower.

Jan spoke and acknowledged the developers’ awareness of the guidelines and asked them to commit to using them. She went on to point out that, “The Calgary guidelines are very similar to those that Toronto developed in 2007 but updated in 2014 as they were found to be insufficient. The fins on the first 4 floors are to reduce the confusion for birds due to the habitat reflection (bushes and trees are thought to be up to 4 stories high). However, you are still using reflective glass which will be deadly to high-flying birds (peregrines?) and to those migrating at night due to the amount of light spilling out into the sky.”

Meewasin Valley Authority Board asked the developer to speak more clearly to Jan’s concerns. “The developers reaffirmed their awareness of the guidelines without putting anything definite on the table,” she says. “They also commented that the film for windows to reduce reflectivity apparently causes the window’s capacity for energy efficiency to be compromised, so it is a catch-22 from what I understood – the building (if glass) can be EITHER energy efficient OR bird-friendly. But, why does it have to be glass?

Jan also identified BirdSafe as an option to more fully explore the choices and concerns. BirdSafe is part of FLAP and has trained individuals who will come out and look at a building, or site, and will be able to rate the risk to birds based on many factors (location, height, amount of glass, amount of vegetation, etc). “I encouraged them to consider bringing someone in to fully evaluate the plan and perhaps offer ideas,” Jan says.

Emergency Bird Rescue
Toronto’s Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) is a non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors and sustained by the efforts of approximately 100 dedicated volunteers.

FLAP is the first organization in the world to address the issue of birds in collisions with buildings. Since 1993, their volunteers have picked up tens of thousands of injured or dead birds from 167 species in the Toronto region. Sadly, about 60% of the birds recovered by FLAP are found dead. Over 80% of the injured birds rescued by FLAP volunteers are rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

Jan says, “It would be AMAZING to start a group of volunteers HERE in Saskatoon who would walk the streets EARLY in the AM, likely past targeted buildings, and see what we find. I will take the birds and compile the data, but I don’t know that I have the time to round up volunteers and so on. But if someone else will spearhead it, I will support them.”

If you are interested in helping to prevent unnecessary bird deaths due to building hazards in Saskatoon, please contact Jan Shadick, Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation, at

Further Information
River Landing Proposal = Bird Hazard
Further Concerns about the East Tower, River Landing